1. Sky Lantern Festival – Pingxi, Taiwan
The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is the epitome of lantern festival celebrations in Taiwan. Historically, sky lanterns were released as a signal telling those hiding in the mountains from ransacking marauders that it was now safe to return to their villages. The practice originated from the traditions of settlers who came to Pingxi from the Minnan (southern) region of China during the Qing Dynasty. At the end of the 20th century, as people began to value and respect local cultural traditions, the practice of releasing sky lanterns was turned into an annual celebratory event for the lantern festival, held on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar. Incorporating local history, religion, and culture, the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is a classic example of a regional festival that developed and spread into a nation-wide celebration.
This unique Taiwanese lantern festival is one of the most beautiful sights you’ll ever see, as thousands of lanterns float into the sky carrying the prayers and vows of locals and tourists alike. Every year, thousands flock to the village of Pingxi for its annual Lantern Festival. There’s also folk performances, lantern riddle contests, and street folk carnivals.
2. Ice and Snow Festival – Harbin, China
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Harbin Ice Festival, also known as Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, is China's original and greatest ice artwork festival, attracting hundreds of thousands of local people and visitors from all over the world. The 36th session of the festival is predicted to be held from late December, 2019 to March 2020. This incredible winter festival is the largest ice and snow festival in the world. It takes place from December until February, so you’ve no excuse not to visit! The Ice and Snow World is the main venue of Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. This has the most beautiful ice sculptures during the festival and there will be more than 2,000 displayed. As well as amazing ice sculptures, there’s also skiing, sledding, ice golf, ice archery winter swimming, fishing and more. Past sculptures include a teeth-chattering sculpture of The Great Wall.
The first Ice lanterns were a winter-time tradition in northeast China. During the Qing Dynasty（1644 - 1911), the local peasants and fishermen often made and used ice lanterns as jack-lights during the winter months. Today, Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is not only an exposition of ice and snow art, but also an annual cultural event for international exchange. Every year, there are many ice sculpture experts, artists and fans from America, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Russia, China, etc. gathering in this city to participate in ice sculpting competitions and to communicate with each other in the ice and snow world.
3. Songkran – Thailand (Nationwide)
Songkran is the occasion for family reunions, temple visits and annual house cleaning. Many Thais observe the holidays by spending time with families and friends. Traditionally, Thais perform the Rod Nam Dum Hua ritual on the 1st day of Songkran, which is officially National Elderly Day. During the ritual, young people would pour fragrant water into the elders’ palms as a gesture of humility and ask for their blessings. Thais celebrate the New Year festival with a four-day-long holiday every April that turns into a nationwide water fight. Across the country, there are friendly water fights and street parties that last nearly a week. It’s also about the act of cleansing and has become one of the wildest water fights in the world. Khao San Road in Bangkok is one of the craziest places for Songkran. We suggest you should visit this at least once. Prepare to get wet – very, very wet.
4. Fuji Rock Festival – Niigata, Japan
Fuji Rock is the biggest music festival in the country – an annual three-day rock festival at Naeba Ski Resort with more than 200 Japanese and international musicians. It’s just a 90-minute train ride from Tokyo and there’s so much more than music to enjoy. Though Fuji Rock isn't hosted at Mount Fuji, it is hosted in one of the most beautiful festival settings, in the mountains in Japan. Due to the dream-like location, the festival attracts hundreds of thousands of music lovers and renowned artists such as Bob Dylan, Foo Fighters, Radiohead, and Coldplay.
This festival is the perfect opportunity to take a trip to Japan and even explore all the beautiful nature it has to offer, which you might not end up doing if you took a trip to the more typical places like Tokyo. Take a chance to enjoy hot springs to soak off that festival tiredness and nature walks in beautiful Japanese scenery.
5. Full Moon Party – Koh Phangan, Thailand
The Full Moon Party has been around on Koh Phangan since the late 1980s (nobody knows the exact year). At that time, a group of about 30 people gathered at the Paradise Bungalows (which still exist today, by the way) and spontaneously celebrated the first Full Moon Party there. The way to the village Haad Rin, the place where the Full Moon Party takes place, was still unpaved at that time and far from being as accessible as it is today. This is one of the most famous parties in the world and is a must-visit for anybody traveling around South East Asia. What until only a decade ago was a small gathering has sprouted into a huge event with 1,000s of people flocking to the beach. You’ll find lots of music, the famous buckets of alcohol and lots of creative performers from fire throwers to jugglers. The best bit? It takes place every single month!
6. Boryeong Mud Festival – South Korea
©Boryeong Mud Festival Organization Committee
Immerse yourself in nutrient-rich mud at the Boryeong Mud Festival, one of Korea's most popular summer festivals! The festival takes place on Korea's west coast at Daecheon Beach in Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do, just a few hours south of Seoul. Daecheon Beach is the largest beach on Korea's west coast and is well known for its nutrient-rich mud that has health benefits for the skin. The entire festival revolves around nutrient-rich mud, with plenty of mud themed events.
Boryeong Mud Festival is packed with unique and exciting mud-themed activities ranging from games to sports, arts and craft, and skin therapy. Head to the Giant Mud Bath located at the Mud Square and participate in recreational activities perfect for friends and families as well as pampering yourself with a mud massage or mud facial pack. You can also enjoy creative activities like painting with colored mud or take the challenge to pass through a mud maze as fast as you can. The festival mood is amplified by the EDM music pumping out at the Mud-M event!
7. The Great Food Festival – Singapore
©Resorts World Sentosa Singapore
This tasty food festival at Resorts World™ Sentosa has some of the world’s best food. There’s great wines, masterclasses by the world’s top wine critics, festival-exclusive dishes created by acclaimed celebrity chefs, as well as exciting pop-up dining concepts. The festival is split into different zones, with a Rollin’ Sweet Times section – an entire area for desserts and pastries. Get ready to gain 10kg and pig out on some of the best food in Asia.